One of the big Pay-per-Click consultancies did a poll a while back about the habits and practices of their smaller customers—the ones spending less than $5,000 a month on AdWords—probably your competitors.

Here are a few of the question and answers:

Q. How often do you work on your PPC account?

A.  Half the accounts said that they didn’t even check once a month, and 25% said that they hadn’t done anything in the last 90 days.

Why should you care?

Because pay-per-click, done right, demands continual, relentless tuning of your account.

You need to be testing your keywords, match types, geo-targeting, bid prices, headlines, body copy, and lots of other things to drive costs down and results up. The fact that half your competition is likely not to be doing so gives you an edge.

Q. How many negative keywords have you used in the past 90 days?

A. Over half of all advertisers haven’t used a single negative keyword in the past 90 days, and 20% of them have never used one at all.

You should care because the proper use of negative keywords can have an absolutely huge impact on the profitability of your PPC campaign.

An example that makes me chuckle every time I think of it is all the water damage restoration companies whose ads show up for the search “water damage iphone” (These are the companies that come in after a fire or flood and dry out your carpet and do the other things necessary to repair your home and prevent mold.)

You think those companies are ever going to make any money on those ads? If they do get the click, the searcher is going to bounce off the landing page in about a half a second, because that’s not what he’s looking for. (The advertisers should have set “iphone” and “cellphone” and “cell phone” and “keyboard” and “computer” as negative keywords.)

In this particular case it’s not so much that the companies are going to be paying for useless clicks, because in this case it’s pretty obvious that the searcher isn’t looking for that kind of restoration services, so he’s not going to click. However, every time the ads show and don’t get clicked, it hurts their click-through rates, which means the advertisers pay more for their ads when they do get clicked for relevant searches.

Negative keywords is one of the first things we look at when we’re asked for help with a poor-performing PPC campaign. Adding carefully-considered negative keywords to a campaign can make a big difference, fast.

Q. Are you using conversion tracking?

A. Less than half of advertisers are tracking conversions.

That means they don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. Which means they’re throwing money away. In any kind of marketing, you want to try to figure out what’s working, and do more of it. You also want to figure out what isn’t working, and stop doing it.

If your competitors don’t know what’s working and what isn’t, you have a huge advantage over them, and you should gradually get to where you can afford to get almost all the clicks and make almost all the money. (I’ll talk about that in some detail one of these days. It’s a fascinating concept!)

Whether you’re currently doing any PPC advertising or not, we offer free consultations about any facet of Internet Marketing.

No obligation of course, or pressure—and you’re almost guaranteed to pick up at least one or two valuable and actionable tips.